tralac Daily News
South Africa urged to play to strengths as its plots role in lithium-ion battery value chain (Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly)
A newly released study of the potential for developing a lithium-ion battery value chain in South Africa concludes that the country should prioritise minerals beneficiation and mining, as well as battery manufacturing as it seeks to carve out a niche for itself in what is a fast-growing, highly competitive and rapidly evolving market.
Gender equality remains critical towards achieving 2030 SDGs (South African News)
Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has urged the country not to allow COVID-19 to keep it from reaching the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on gender equality.
The adverse effects of the climate emergency mean that it is critical for the world to accelerate the transition to low carbon technologies to reduce emissions. The transport sector is estimated to contribute an average of 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Member states, therefore, urgently need to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), which include four, three, and two-wheelers.
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has approved $70 million (around R1.046 billion) to finance the expansion and upgrade of the Beitbridge border post in Zimbabwe to boost intra-Africa trade. The Beitbridge border post between Zimbabwe and South Africa is the busiest border crossing in Southern Africa, with an average of 25 000 people and 500 trucks.
Kenya, UK trade agreement faces approval setback in Parliament (Business Daily)
MPs have taken issue with a clause in the new trade agreement between Kenya and the United Kingdom that bars Parliament from amending or expressing reservations on the pact. The legislators further argued that the clause violates the provisions of the Treaty Making and Ratification Act 2012 which gives the National Assembly powers to either approve or reject a treaty with reservations.
The Secretary General for AfCFTA Secretariat, Wamkele Mene is expected to headline the maiden Africa Private Sector Summit for this year slated for March 8 to March 12, organisers of the summit have announced.
Comesa Moves to Suspend Uganda Over Shs4b Arrears (All Africa)
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) has written to Uganda over possible suspension from the economic regional bloc over unfulfilled financial commitment fees for the last years. The Comesa secretary general, Ms Chileshe Kapwepwe, in a February 22 letter to the Trade minister, Ms Amelia Kyambadde, indicated that Uganda was added to the "sanction bracket" as the first warning over the arrears in January 2020.
Kenyatta takes over as EAC chairperson at critical time (Independent)
The East African Community’s 21st Heads of States Summit, which saw Kenya take over the chairmanship of the community, was unique in many ways, including being the first to be held virtually. It also came at a time, when two of the members of the community, Uganda and Rwanda, could not trade with each other after the closure of the border.
Private sector upbeat about new EAC secretary-general (The New Times)
The Rwandan Private Sector Federation (PSF) Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Ruzibiza, on Wednesday, March 3, told The New Times that the business community is expecting a lot from Peter Mathuki who was chosen by East African Community leaders last weekend as the bloc's new secretary-general. Mathuki who has been instrumental in championing removal of non-tariff barriers (NTBs), implementing the turn-around strategy of the East African Business Council (EABC), and revitalizing donor support in the sector, among others, will on April 25 start work as the seventh EAC SG.
EAC Not Moving As Coalition On EU Agreements (All Africa)
The East African Community (EAC) will not be moving as a bloc in negotiations, signing, ratification and implementation of agreements with the European Union (EU) Economic Partnership. Instead, each interested partner state will go it alone, after the EAC Heads of State met virtually on the weekend and recalled their preceding discussion on the EU-EAC Economic Partnership Agreement.
Africa Fares Lowly In Implementing SDGs (New Zimbabwe)
Before the onset of the deadly novel coronavirus (Covid-19), Africa was recording positive growth rates but not enough to achieve the sustainable development goals, a United Nations (UN) top official has said. Bartholomew Armah, director of the macroeconomics and governance division in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) said this while giving a progress report on the implementation of Agendas 2030 and 2063, and tackling the Covid-19 crisis at the regional and sub-regional levels at the ongoing 7th African Regional Forum for Sustainable Development in Congo Brazzaville Wednesday.
Slim chances for the WTO appellate body despite US return to multilateralism (Global Trade Review)
The Biden administration’s approach to international negotiations marks a step-change in US trade policy. But despite a change in tone towards the World Trade Organization (WTO), there is little indication that the US will prioritise tackling key issues plaguing the global trade body.
Members review proposals on improving implementation of Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement (World Trade Organization)
At a meeting of the Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) on 23-26 February, WTO members discussed various proposals submitted under the Triennial Review of the TBT Agreement. The review aims at developing a set of recommendations by the Committee on how to improve the implementation of the Agreement. Members discussed 81 specific trade concerns, 20 of which were new concerns.
On March 1, 2021, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released President Joseph Biden’s 2021 Trade Agenda and 2020 Annual Report. Providing an overview of “a comprehensive trade policy in support of the administration’s effort to help the U.S. recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and build back better,” the report states that President Biden’s trade agenda addresses four national challenges: (1) building a stronger industrial and innovation base so the future is made in America; (2) building sustainable infrastructure and a clean energy future; (3) building a stronger, caring economy; and, (4) advancing racial equity across the board.
Henrietta Fore, the executive director of UNICEF, told CNBC that solving a "digital divide" is essential for addressing global equality.Fore, who took up her role at the U.N. agency in 2018, said remote learning is needed in every country of the world, whereby education is reimagined "so that every child has the chance to learn, even in a pandemic."